Skip to main content

Map the System




Learn to Solve Social & Environmental Problems Differently

Map the System is a global systems thinking competition that teaches students how to understand and help address complex social and environmental problems. Participating Vanderbilt students are guided through a fast-paced 8-week systems thinking curriculum, after which they present their systems research at the annual Vanderbilt University Map the System competition.

The VU Map the System Competition is April 15, 2021 @ 5:30pm CT. Stay tuned for registration details.

By participating in Map the System, you will:

  • Learn more about a social or environmental challenge you care about;
  • Understand how to develop meaningful solutions to complex problems;
  • Learn about meaningful careers in different sectors and industries;
  • If you choose and are approved, use your project to fulfill Immersion or capstone projects, or support graduate or undergraduate research;
  • Strengthen research, presentation, and public speaking skills;
  • Establish relationships with students, faculty, staff and professionals, both within and beyond the Vanderbilt community;
  • Compete for the opportunity to represent Vanderbilt University at the Map the System Global Finals, held in June at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom.

Key Dates and Timeline, Spring 2021

  • Registration Open: November 2, 2020 – January 31, 2021
  • Vanderbilt 8-week Program Runs: February 5 – April 2, 2021
  • MTS Project Submissions Due: April 2, 2021
  • Vanderbilt On-campus competition & winner announced: April 15, 2021
  • Global Finals in Oxford, United Kingdom: June 9-11, 2021

Participation Requirements

register via oxford university

If you’d like to participate in Vanderbilt’s Map the System program, you will register through Oxford University. Registration for the Spring 2021 competition is now closed.

Who’s Eligible?

Map the System is open to ALL Vanderbilt University undergraduate and graduate students. The ideal participant is someone who is:

  • From any major, school, or department at Vanderbilt;
  • Passionate about social and/or environmental change or has experience with a particular societal challenge;
  • Interested in, or curious about, building a career in social impact, social entrepreneurship, advocacy, or policy;
  • Seeking an internship or professional opportunity related to a specific social, economic, or environmental challenge; and/or,
  • Contemplating a new social enterprise or non-profit business model but wants to better understand how their proposed solution fits within, or provides an alternative to, existing initiatives.

What Are Team Requirements?

Teams are comprised of undergraduate and graduate students who are currently enrolled at Vanderbilt University. Teams may have up to 5 members. You may register as a sole competitor, but collaboration with teammates is strongly encouraged. Teams may also include members who are not part of the Vanderbilt community. However, each team must have at least one currently enrolled Vanderbilt University student.

What DO I HAVE TO do TO participate?

First you need to register to participate in Vanderbilt’s Map the System program. See above for guidance. Once registered, you complete three systems research deliverables in order to participate in the Vanderbilt on-campus competition. Throughout the program, you’ll be guided through a process that will help you complete each deliverable by the required deadline. The deliverables you’ll complete are:

  • A visual infographic of your problem landscape and system
  • A 2,000 word summary of research findings
  • A bibliography of sources used during research
  • A 5-minute presentation

Additional Information from Oxford University

Still have questions about participating? Contact Hanes Motsinger at!

On-campus Partners